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Goyt Valley Story #1

The first chapter of Clifford Rathbone’s ‘Goyt Valley Story’ describes a walk he made in the summer of 1955 from the Cat & Fiddle to Goyt’s Bridge, before the flooding of Errwood Reservoir.

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Hearts of oak

“One by one the farmers and their families have strapped their ancient bedsteads on to hay wagons, and tracked off up the lane leading out from Derbyshire’s deceased village of Fernilee…”

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Visiting the Cat & Fiddle (1888)

“A carriage from Buxton passes us just before we reach the Cat and Fiddle. Its inmates, although covered with shawls and rugs, are shivering with cold. (The date is the 4th of May, 1888.)”

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John & Hannah Butler

Captain John Butler has always fascinated me. He was the Master of the Grimshawe’s ocean-going yacht, The Mariquita, and is buried in the hill-top cemetery above the ruins of Errwood Hall.

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Fernilee west walk video

Hot on the heels of the video for walk 17 comes the one for walk 18; a very easy 2.5 mile circular walk around the west of Fernilee Reservoir. There are some wonderful views from the upper section.

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Foxlow Edge walk video

I’ve just added the video for walk 17: a short, 1.5 mile circular stroll along Foxlow Edge, returning along the narrow footpath which runs between the ruins of Errwood Hall and St. Joseph’s Shrine.

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Castedge spring; then & now

A new ‘then and now’ fade features one of my favourite photos of the Goyt Valley; Kathleen Nall collecting water at the natural spring outside her family home, Castedge Farm Cottage.

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New valley panorama

A newly-dicovered photo across the Goyt Valley dating back to the 1920s reveals some fascinating detail – Errwood Hall in the far distance and a possible ice cream kiosk beside Errwood Bridge.

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Discovered; a lovers’ walk

In 1880 a writer described “a footpath high above the carriage-way… a lovers’ walk; a deep-green wooded way made for Phillida and Corydon”. My thanks to James for pointing me in the right direction.

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Goyt’s Moss Marchingtons

Rob has been in touch to say his family once lived at Goyt’s Moss, scraping a living mining coal from the small pits which once littered the landscape of this windswept part of the upper Goyt Valley.

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Anyone seen a puma?

Alan asks whether anyone has seen a puma in the Valley. I seem to remember someone saying they’d seen one a few years back. I think it was more likely to be a large feral cat. But who knows?

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A birds’ eye view

Top of my Santa wish-list is a drone to capture the Valley from the air. But I’m not confident about persuading my good lady wife that it’s worth the hefty price tag. Wish me luck!

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Goyt’s Bridge video

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally managed to complete a short, 12 minute video showing how the twin reservoirs completely changed the landscape of this part of the Goyt Valley.

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ITV visits the valley

My fleeting moment of fame! A couple of minutes on ITV’s Calendar programme chatting about the history of the Goyt Valley. But I can’t see me making a career of it!

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More Goyt Valley postcards

My thanks to Michael for allowing me to scan some of his wonderful collection of Goyt Valley postcards. They include many I hadn’t seen before, including views of Goyt’s Bridge and the Cat & Fiddle.

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The mushroom cloud

“Machinery was twisted into all shapes and huge beams splintered. Pieces of iron had been thrown high up on the hills and one piece of machinery weighing well over a ton was flung into the water.”

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Fernilee path reopens

It’s taken almost a year, but the footpath between Fernilee and Taxal, past the old pump house, has finally reopened. But I hadn’t realised the old building was to completely vanish from the landscape.

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Walk 18: Fernilee west bank

Recorded at the start of a mini heat-wave in June 2017, this 2.5 mile circular stroll is the first in the series to start from the small car park at the northern tip of Fernilee Reservoir.

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Errwood Farm; then & now

Samuel Grimshawe stayed at Errwood Farm to oversee the construction of Errwood Hall in the 1830s. This composite image shows the attractive farmhouse in today’s landscape.

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Loveliest of Derbyshire drives

The road through the Goyt valley was described as “one of the loveliest in Derbyshire”. But Mrs Grimshawe once closed it due to the “disgraceful conduct of a char-a-banc party”!

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Goyt Valley early ’30s #2

A rare view of Goyt’s Bridge, taken in the early 1930s, shortly before all the buildings were demolished following Stockport Corporation’s purchase of the valley to build the twin reservoirs.

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Goyt’s Moss to Taxal

From Derbyshire Bridge in the south to Taxal in the north, this series of ‘then & now’ fades show how the Goyt Valley has changed since the construction of the twin reservoirs.

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Finding the Lodge

Gerald Hancock wrote ‘The Lodge’ on the back of this photo. But I’ve never been able to pinpoint where it was located. Could a lodge marked on an 1888 map of Fernilee provide the answer?

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Fernilee industries

Chilworth Gunpowder Mill features in this post focussing on the village of Fernilee. It describes an accidental explosion in 1894 which sent a cannon ball half-a-mile, only just missing a herd of cattle!

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